x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Gamba outclass Adelaide in the first leg

Gamba Osaka take the initiative in the Asian Champions League final with a 3-0 first leg win.

The Adelaide United defender Jose de Abreu Oliveira, left, and the Gamba Osaka midfielder Yasuhito Endo chase the ball during Osaka's 3-0 first leg win in the Asian Champions League final.
The Adelaide United defender Jose de Abreu Oliveira, left, and the Gamba Osaka midfielder Yasuhito Endo chase the ball during Osaka's 3-0 first leg win in the Asian Champions League final.

TOKYO // Japan's Gamba Osaka swept past Adelaide United of Australia with a commanding display in the first leg of the Asian Champions League final. The Brazilian striker Lucas put the home side in front in the 37th minute, beating the offside trap before finding the net with a deflected shot. The influential midfielder Yasuhito Endo doubled Gamba's lead two minutes before half-time, latching on to a clever pass from Lucas to score with a clinical left-foot drive.

Robert Cornthwaite squandered a fine chance to snatch a precious away goal for the visitors before the midfielder Michihiro Yasuda volleyed a third for Gamba in the 68th minute. "They didn't put us under as much pressure as we had expected," the Gamba manager Akira Nishinosaid. "The job's not finished yet though. We expect a tough return game. "We were desperate to win this title and we are halfway there. Now we must go there and be professional so we can finish it off."

The favourites Gamba, who had knocked out the champions Urawa Reds 4-2 on aggregate in an all-Japanese semi-final, dominated the match and could have won by a much wider margin. "We should have scored four or five," said Endo, who had a last-minute free-kick ruled out for offside. "We'll go to Adelaide with the same motivation and try to play the same way. Hopefully, we will be able to handle the pressure and become champions."

Gamba's win puts them in touching distance of their first Asian Champions League title and a place in December's lucrative Fifa Club World Cup. Adelaide have already qualified for the tournament as the highest-placed non-Japanese side in the ACL competition. European champions Manchester United will begin as favourites to win the Club World Cup in Japan.

The second leg takes place on Nov 12 *Reuters